The global banking giant has been writing to customers around the world this month informing them of its decision and telling affected customers they must transfer their money to another bank by 20 March. HSBC said if customers did not transfer their funds they will receive a cheque for the balance of their account.
While the bank refused to disclose the full list of the countries it is targeting with the ban, it has confirmed that those who hold Syrian or Iranian passports, are based in those countries or have businesses there, are among those who will be banned from banking with it.
However, HSBC said the ban is not across the board and customers with either an “Advance” or “Premier” account and who therefore have a personal relationship manager, may not be subject to the ban. The bank explained this was because the relationship manager would be able to assist with the increased due diligence required for clients based in high risk countries – the extra costs involved with conducting the additional due diligence is also more justifiable for larger accounts.
Affected customers with a loan from the bank have been given the option of either paying back the full amount by the closing date of 20 March, without any early repayment penalties, or to continue to pay back the loan as per the original agreement.
Meanwhile, those customers with a credit card are required to pay any outstanding amount by 20 March. If they are unable to pay this sum back by the date, HSBC said it can offer a flexible payment plan to customers based on “merit and review of individual circumstances”.